Archive for September, 2009


In my previous post, I provided a link to the Variety article, ‘Road shows cut costs, keep pizzazz’ in which producers talk about how they are finding innovative ways to save money on the touring versions of their Broadway shows. On the other end of the spectrum, here’s a link to a recent BroadwayWorld article about South Pacific where the producer announces that the touring version of the Broadway revival will include a 30 piece orchestra.

This substantial expense, along with the other expenses typically incurred for a Broadway-level tour, will likely require an increase in ticket prices, at least in the more expensive markets, otherwise break even could be dangerously high.

If higher ticket prices is indeed the result, will Touring Broadway audiences be accepting of paying more during an economy that is likely to remain shaky for the next few years? Whatever the method to reduce risk is, it will eventually be interesting to see if the show’s decision to have such a large orchestra for the tour was a wise one.

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Check out this interesting feature article from yesterday’s Variety regarding how and why producers have scaled down their mega-sized Broadway musicals for the touring versions.

“Road shows cut costs, keep pizzazz”

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Fall Booking Conferences

WAA 2009MAC 2009

PAE 2009

Every year, many independent presenters, booking agents, and performing artists attend one or more of three annual theater conferences that take place around the United States between early September through late September, early October.

The first of these three conferences, which just wrapped up on September 4th, is hosted by the Western Arts Alliance. This conference is commonly referred to as “WAA.” The second conference is hosted by Arts Midwest and is called the Midwest Arts Conference. The third and final conference is called The Performing Arts Exchange (PAE) and is hosted by the Southern Arts Federation.

These conferences provide an opportunity for independent presenters to personally interface and network with booking agents and performing artists from around the country, and the world. An area commonly referred to as “The Marketplace” is where “deal-making” between presenters and bookers often transpires. The Marketplace is a room where booking agencies set up booths to “sell” their shows. By this time in the year, presenters have pretty much programmed their 2009-2010 season, so for the most part, they are looking to 2010-2011 and beyond. That said, agents and presenters are also working on filling in any remaining 2009-2010 programming holes.

WAA typically takes place in a city in the western portion of the U.S. and most of the presenters who attend are from that region. Similarly, the Midwest Arts Conference is hosted in a city that is specially selected for Midwest presenters, and PAE takes place in an East Coast city, often in, or near, the Mid-Atlantic region. Of the three conferences, PAE tends to be the one that draws local presenters, as well as folks from further afield. If a presenter was not able to attend WAA, or The Midwest Arts Conference, for example, they may consider attending PAE as an alternative.

In addition to The Marketplace, these conferences also offer performances, speakers, classes and workshops. So, if you are a producer or performer looking to gain a better understanding of The Road and how shows are sold and programmed into seasons, or if you just want the chance to get in some networking, attending one of these conferences could be a potentially worthwhile experience.

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